Pakistan news March 3, 2010

Waqar Younis signs as Pakistan coach

Waqar Younis has signed on as the new coach of the Pakistan side, in the process becoming the fourth coach of the team in three years. The former fast bowler has been in negotiations with the PCB over the last few days, but confirmed that he will now replace Intikhab Alam on a tenure that sees him through to December 2011.

Waqar, who is based in Sydney currently, will arrive in Lahore next week to begin work, the first assignment of which will be to prepare Pakistan's defense of the World Twenty20 crown in the Caribbean in April-May. "I've signed on and agreed to the contract," Waqar told Cricinfo. "I'll be arriving in Lahore from next week to begin work."

Though the PCB had talked of - and approached - at least one foreign option to replace Intikhab in the aftermath of the tour to Australia, Waqar emerged as a favourite to take over last week. He was sent a contract over the weekend and though there initially were a few sticking points, it is believed the chinks have been ironed out.

"I'm absolutely honoured to take on the role and it is a very exciting challenge," Waqar said. "Hopefully I can deliver on the role. Cricket has given me a lot over the years and I want to give something back to cricket and country now. I've always played my cricket with passion and aggression and I want the team to play like that."

This will be Waqar's first official role as head coach at any competitive level, though he has worked with Pakistan twice previously as a bowling coach. The first was a stint under Bob Woolmer between March 2006 and January 2007, a successful stretch during which a number of bowlers prospered. The second time was on the recent Australian tour, where he was one of three coaches in a set-up headed by Intikhab and that appointment was for the series only.

But Waqar believes his relative lack of experience in an expansive role will not be a hindrance, hinting that he would relish the broader sweep such a post would afford him. "I'll probably have more control of various situations and have a say in more decisions. I really enjoyed my time as bowling coach, especially the first one under Bob.

"The last one was a little more difficult but I'm confident I can deliver. I learnt a lot from Bob during his time and I'm hoping I can put that to good use."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo